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In Oregon, the Register Guard reports that Supervalu-owned Save-A-Lot is giving away 4,000 bags of free groceries at each of its nine Pacific Northwest stores, with each bag containing spaghetti, pasta sauce, two canned veggies and garlic bread worth about five bucks.

Save-A-Lot also reportedly is giving 1,000 of the grocery bags to local food banks.

The company said that the giveaway is a good way of helping customers who are being negatively affected by the economic downturn.

KC's View:
Smart move. The Register Guard makes the point that Save-A-Lot is garnering a lot of good publicity from the giveaway, which makes the hundreds of thousands of dollars it is investing in the program an intelligent use of money.

There seems to be a lot of this going on right now, and some of it is coming in unlikely places.

I happen to be in Burlington, Vermont, right now, and last night I went to a terrific little bistro called Leunig’s for dinner. Before the check came, the waitress came out with a small tray and a cup with five dice…and she told me that if I rolled five of a kind, I would get the meal for free. I didn’t…but the numbers totaled 14, which gave me a 14 percent discount off the check.

This is a clever way to create a little marketing fun and excitement while still catering to people’s desire to save a buck. Such initiatives are to be admired…and emulated when possible.